Labor & Employment Law
Connell Foley’s Labor & Employment Law Group is dedicated to providing the highest quality, creative and effective representation of employers across a broad range of labor and employment law matters. From preventative measures designed to educate and ensure legal and regulatory compliance, to the defense of claims of alleged wrong-doings, we work closely with employers to protect their business.
Our Labor & Employment Law attorneys regularly counsel employers in drafting policies and developing best practices and training programs to minimize and avoid employment claims. These proactive steps are important tools for fostering compliance with the dizzying number of laws and regulations that affect the workplace. When litigation is unavoidable, our team of experienced litigators draws upon an unparalleled knowledge of federal and state laws and local ordinances to provide clients with a comprehensive and vigorous defense.
We serve a diverse client base, including public and private corporations, non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, municipalities, public agencies, multi-employer trade associations, and insurance and financial services firms.
Our Range of Services
Connell Foley’s Labor & Employment Law Group provides counsel to employers on the full spectrum of labor and employment matters, including:
- Proactive compliance counseling
- Litigation and agency charge defense, arbitration and mediation
- Employee handbooks
- Employee training programs, including workplace harassment prevention training
- Internal investigations
- Non-compete agreements and trade secrets
- Immigration and nationality law and compliance
- Labor-management relations
Proactive Compliance Counseling
In the area of employment law advice and counsel, we emphasize a preventive approach. Our focus is to assist employers in making employment-related decisions to avoid or reduce the risks of litigation, while maintaining a productive and well-managed work force. We accomplish this by providing our clients' executives, human resources directors and managers with proactive counseling and training on every facet of the employment relationship. We provide comprehensive advice, assistance, audits and training with respect to:
- Employee screening, hiring and reviews
- Compliance with wage and hour laws
- Formulating personnel policies and employee handbooks
- Strategies to prevent workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation
- Employee dishonesty and disloyalty, discipline, and terminations
- Managing employee medical leaves of absence
- Reasonable accommodations
- Privacy issues
- Drug and alcohol testing
- Reductions in force, mass layoffs, and plant and business closings
- Separation agreements and general releases
- Personnel file management and record keeping requirements
Litigation and Agency Charge Defense, Arbitration and Mediation
Connell Foley’s employment attorneys represent management at all levels of workplace law and dispute resolution, including in federal and state courts, administrative hearings (including Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), and mediation and arbitration. Our seasoned litigators vigorously and effectively defend employers in litigation, including the following types of claims raised under federal and state laws and local ordinances:
- Discrimination and equal opportunity
- Workplace harassment
- Employment and termination disputes
- Breach of contract
- Restrictive covenants
- Wage and hour
- Reductions in work force
- Work environment and safety
- Employee benefits
- Medical leaves of absence
- Compensation issues
- Workplace torts
One of the many challenges that employers face is how to draft an employee handbook. Connell Foley solves this challenge by preparing comprehensive and practical employee handbooks that are customized to each employer’s specific business practices and size. We draft each employee handbook to accomplish four main objectives: (1) clear communication with employees; (2) administrative efficiency; (3) best employment practices to avoid or minimize workplace disputes; and (4) proactive measures addressing changes in laws, liability trends and business climate. We also periodically review and update our clients’ employee handbooks to ensure their continued compliance with complex federal, state and local employment laws.
Employee Training Programs
Connell Foley has extensive experience preparing and conducting workplace training programs for employers. Our one-hour training programs are structured to provide practical information and teaching examples in a manner that supports our clients’ objectives and budgets, with minimal disruption to the flow of the work day. By way of example, we provide the following training programs:
- Workplace harassment prevention
- Best practices for hiring employees
- Best practices for evaluating, disciplining and terminating employees
- Addressing requests for a leave of absence, the availability of income replacement benefits while on leave, and the interaction of applicable laws
- Ramifications of social media in the workplace
- Maintaining current job descriptions and the practical importance of same relative to disciplinary actions, performance evaluations and requests for workplace accommodations
- Correctly classifying workers (exempt or non-exempt, employee or independent contractor)
- Practical considerations for implementing a reduction-in-force, early retirement incentive program, offering severance to a terminated employee, and drafting separation/release agreements
Our internal investigations practice is a multi-disciplinary group of lawyers focused on representing corporations and their officers, directors and employees in internal investigations, grand jury investigations and trials, administrative enforcement proceedings (including SEC proceedings), and other types of government investigations. The group also counsels directors on corporate governance issues, with particular emphasis on director oversight, fiduciary duty and liability issues.
With the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act’s expanded whistleblower provisions and the resultant surge of governmental investigations and proceedings, our group's internal investigation work has become even more vital to our clients. We advise on a broad range of matters involving securities, banking, antitrust, tax, health care, environmental, political and campaign activities, and U.S. and foreign government procurement.
Non-Compete Agreements and Trade Secrets
Our employment law attorneys are well-versed in protecting our clients’ trade secrets and proprietary information critical to their ability to maintain a competitive advantage. Whether counseling clients on measures to protect proprietary information or making applications to enforce employment and other non-disclosure covenants, we have the knowledge and experience to secure vital commercial assets. In addition to working with clients to develop technology and comprehensive trade secret protection programs, our preventative services include:
- Drafting non-compete agreements, restrictive covenants, non-disclosure agreements, and similar documents
- Preparing executive and individual employment agreements
- Auditing trade secret protections
- Consulting on electronic information retention and security policies
Immigration and Nationality Law and Compliance
Connell Foley represents businesses (domestic and multinational), academic institutions, organizations and individuals across the United States and the world on a wide range of immigration matters and compliance issues.
Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Visa Processing
Finding and keeping foreign talent is an important priority for businesses, research institutes and other organizations. Our attorneys assist by designing appropriate and efficient strategies to take on foreign workers for temporary and long-term assignments. Whether it’s bringing executives and managers to the U.S. from foreign affiliates, hiring individuals with specialized knowledge to fill temporary needs, or sponsoring essential employees for permanent residence, Connell Foley helps employers navigate the complex visa process. We also counsel individuals on immigrant visa applications based on extraordinary ability, family-based immigration, and naturalization.
With penalties for violations recently increasing, employers must assure compliance with I-9 and E-Verify regulations. Connell Foley helps avoid costly civil fines and criminal liability by providing training sessions, leading internal audits and defending employers facing government raids or audits. We design comprehensive programs, policies and procedures to effectively manage your workforce.
Our attorneys have experience in complex and sophisticated matters representing employers in both the private and public sectors across virtually all industries. For our unionized and non-unionized employer clients, we offer advice and representation in connection with:
- Negotiating collective bargaining agreements
- Administering labor contracts
- Responding to union representation campaigns
- Defending unfair labor practice charges
- Providing representation in grievances and labor arbitrations